079: How Tech, Content, and Data Work Together [Deep Dive]

079: How Tech, Content, and Data Work Together [Deep Dive]

Did you know that there is a relationship between your tech, data, and content? They all work together. We’re going to jump into the relationship between your tech, data and content.

To start, let’s define our terms today…

  • Tech: the tools we use to display, transact, and store.
  • Data: the content we create, use, and store about leads and clients and partners.
  • Content: text, images, graphics, and videos for lead, client and partner consumption.

Did you know that during initial tech setup, a lot of how your content is going to look and data is going to be stored is defined? This is why it’s so important when you are implementing tech to make sure you implement it to its fullest capacity.

Whereas, the content aesthetics are usually straightforward to add to any given tool because they are stored in a brand guide. The brand guide highlights font families, font weights, colors, and the visual style.

Data meanwhile is not usually quite as structured – some of this will be dictated by the software tool we’re using and other will come from conventions that we’ve adopted along the way.

I could probably sum up this entire episode by saying that we need to have a living document to keep our data storage plan as organized as the brand guide!

But there is so much more to this conversation that it’s time to get into it!  When we’re setting up a new software tool, both your brand guide and your data storage plan will help this tool be as effective as possible as soon as possible.

The data side of setup and the content side of setup can be done independently and I generally recommend having all your content ready to go, but then actually do the data configuration before the content loading.

Let’s walk through this with a couple of examples… surprise surprise, I’m going to start with an example using ThriveCart.

I’ve said it before, it’s just a fantastic tool and is perfectly suited for case studies since it touches so many elements of both content and data!  When we’re setting up ThriveCart for the first time, we need to connect it with our other tools – specifically our paid access portal and our email marketing provider.

ThriveCart is a forward facing tool, so you don’t have to go through a ton of setup before you can start creating the checkout page and taking payments! Seriously, you get started on your checkout nearly straight away! Which is precisely why it’s beneficial to have your content already figured out.

In this case, the content is going to consist of:

  • Logo for the top of the cart
  • Video or Image for the cart sidebar
  • Product Features – as bullet points
  • One or two testimonials
  • eading For Thank you page
  • Thank you page video
  • Text for Thank you page

But even more important than the content in this case is the data… what data are you collecting? How are you storing it? What systems need what pieces? And so on…

ThriveCart connects with your payment processor – Stripe, PayPal and/or Authorize.net, but it doesn’t store sensitive financial data. That’s kept with the actual processor. What it does retain is the customer lifetime value along with their purchases and subscriptions.

The payment processors retain payment card data and other stuff that doesn’t belong outside their platform. I strongly suggest that we don’t do anything with the sensitive data. But the other data that ThriveCart collects and creates, like:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Product, order number
  • Purchase price, order date
  • Which payment processor was used
  • Associated affiliate
  • And I’m sure I’m missing a ton

That data, most likely doesn’t need to live in ThriveCart alone. It needs to be pushed to our internal business management utilities.

We already have a good example of this. We push the purchaser name and email address to our email marketing system to welcome our new customer to their product, deliver their product, and additional value.  And we push this information to any other system that they are now getting access to as a result of the transaction. But there are still more things we can do!

What other tools are you using online? What data generated by ThriveCart would improve your usability of that tool? Think about your financial systems and your CRM. Anything that can be setup once and just work reduces the amount of manual processes you’ll need to do now and into the future.

All this to mean that when a transaction or action is performed in one tool, it can generally be synchronized with other tools within your tech stack.

But, without some planning we might have just created a monster! It’s not good enough to push data from one system to another without factoring in what that new system is going to do with the data.

Again, let’s go back to ThriveCart pushing data to ActiveCampaign.

It’s fine that it pushes the name and email address of our new customer, but it would be a lot more beneficial for a clear roadmap of how that user is going to be treated once the data is pushed over to ActiveCampaign. Are they going to be added to tags? Lists? Automations? And if you’re using the CRM side of ActiveCampaign, is their purchase moving them through a deal or starting a new deal for them?And who is doing the data manipulation work? ThriveCart or ActiveCampaign?

We can trigger an ActiveCampaign automation from the ThriveCart purchase which could then add a series of tags, possibly send them emails, possibly add them to the CRM functionality, or add a note to their account and so on.

My general rule of thumb here is to push as little as possible and leverage as much as possible with the native system.

So while ThriveCart could add tags, remove tags, add to automations, and remove from automations, I prefer to have ThriveCart do less. I prefer to have ThriveCart just add someone to the automation and for the automation to take care of all the nuances inside that platform.

Let’s look at another tool – this time it’s MemberVault because Mike has added a huge function that pushes data to the nth degree since I did the MemberVault series.

In MemberVault, they have actions that can trigger data collection on ActiveCampaign or in your email marketing platform of choice. But whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself (again) let’s start with you going to https://techofbusiness.com/mv/ and signing up for a forever free account.

This account allows you to have up to 50 subscribers or purchasers at no charge. At this level, and all levels, we’re able to create courses and memberships and freebies and the whole binge and buy marketplace. And like ThriveCart, we’re able to get started loading our content in quite early on. Right out of the box the platform works—and adding your branding elements from the style guide will make it “yours” in no time. Content in this case is broken into three distinct sections:

  • Product Information- this includes product name, description and a graphic
  • Your welcome message- this is displayed to purchasers or signups on the main course delivery page
  • A teaser message- this gives a preview of the product and acts as the sales or landing page copy
  • Modules and their associated lessons- these can consist of text, graphics, videos, downloads and anything else that you can think of embedding. Modules also have a short and a long description.

There is a lot of content that goes into putting something together on MemberVault, so in most cases, I find that the best way to start a MemberVault project is to have a high level understanding of what you want to use it for and wireframe it. Use dummy content and placeholders to get the structure in place without getting bogged down with content creation.
This is all so that we can get to the vast amount of data and what to do with it.

There are two sides of the data that I want to discuss within the context of this episode.

The first is the gem that Mike recently (like two months ago) revealed. And that is the actions. This is where MemberVault can push a VAST amount of data over to ActiveCampaign or your email marketing provider of choice when your users do a number of things in your MemberVault. Seriously this list is everything!

Here are just a few actions that I have personally implemented:

  • Creates account
  • First logs in
  • Added to free product
  • Views teaser content for a specific product
  • Added to paid product

Here are the others:

PRODUCT SPECIFIC

  • Added to product
  • Purchased product
  • Unlocked product
  • View teaser content
  • Ghosts on a product
  • Completes Product
  • Star user on a product
  • Completes Lesson
  • Earns X Product EP
  • Completes Module
  • Unlocks Module
  • Passes Quiz
  • Fails Quiz

That’s seriously a lot of data that we can generate about our MemberVault users! While more data is great, making sure we make the most of it is even better.

Some of the actions are only relevant if you have bonus content that people unlock when they earn EP. That’s short for Experience Points and it’s a way to gamify maintaining progress through the material.

The data available on the MemberVault admin dashboard is robust and sometimes more relevant to a business than pushing all that data over to the EMS. So while I love data and connecting tools, it’s also prudent to not go overboard!

Before I jump into the other data collection element of MemberVault that is pure genius, I want to highlight the fact that both MemberVault and ThriveCart have great dashboards. And so does ActiveCampaign. So does your CRM. And so does nearly every tech tool that we use these days – so when it comes to reviewing your data and making decisions based on the data, it matters less where that data resides and more that it provides the insight you need.Don’t get hung up on making every piece of data fit into one tidy dashboard if you can glean segments of your data from multiple dashboard.

OK, mini-rant over… I just don’t want to be creating custom dashboards to hold all your data when there are a lot more exciting things we could be working on.

Now, back to that brilliant data I was talking about – it’s EP, or engagement points.

Points are earned by users who access the content and progress through the products. They get points when they mark a lesson as complete and points for completing a module and points for viewing lessons. This means the more someone is on your platform and working through your material, the more they get rewarded.

We can use EPs to unlock bonus material and trigger email automations. EP leaderboards can be public within your MemberVault for all your users to see. Or they can be internal functions only. The public EPs are great motivators in gamification.

This EP data should remain in MemberVault – since it’s mostly irrelevant outside the platform. Even when it triggers automations, it does this through adding a tag in ActiveCampaign, not by sending the EP value over to ActiveCampaign.

I’ve spent my life working with computers.  I believe that we’re in the best place we’ve ever been with tools that can bend to our every whim, the ability to create vast amounts of content and collect and insane amount of data.

“Your content, if not structured, does nothing for your audience. Your data, if not handled appropriately, won’t give you the insight into how to move things forward towards your goals.”- Jaime Slutzky Click To Tweet

We all want to do new and bigger things in our businesses. And the tech we invest our time, money, and energy into can create a strong foundation upon which our content can do its job and data can give us the insight we need.

While none of us hesitate to hire an accountant, lawyer or real estate agent when they are needed in our businesses, we also should not hesitate in hiring an expert to help us remove our tech blinders. Here at Tech of Business it is my mission to help your tech do the most it can for you.  Together we can empower you with a deeper understanding at the relationship between your tech, your content and your data. This is done in one or two TECH BREAKTHROUGH sessions.

Let’s get you and your tech and your data working towards that next big goal with eyes wide open!

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